Last weekend was filled with a few of the last days this fall that felt like summer. With the thermometer showing 26 degrees in the morning and 23 in the afternoon we decided to visit le funiculaire de Saint Hilaire du Touvet. It was something we came across only recently. It’s a pity we didn’t see it earlier as it would have been a good recommendation for friends that visited us during the summer.
Le funiculaire de Saint Hilaire du Touvet is basically a little train that goes up the mountains to a little village. The train has been running for 90 years now and originally it was set up to transport people with TBC to sanatoriums that were set up in the village. Nowadays it’s mostly used by tourists and paragliders. We belonged to the first group obviously.
We actually didn’t have a clue, that it was such a hot-spot for paragliders. But as soon as we arrived there we saw a sky filled with colourful dots flying in the air and children around us were shouting “Parapentes! Parapentes!”. It became kind of clear that people didn’t only go up with the train to enjoy the view. And as we entered the train we were not only followed by families, but also by a few hands full of -mostly- men with huge backpacks. All dressed in sporty gear. Minor detail, but still interesting: most of them were also equipped with a electronic cigarettes.
While they enjoyed their cigarettes during the trip up, we enjoyed the view of the valley, the mountain itself and the waterfall falling off of it. You could see the small paths on which more adventurous types go up the mountain. Small paths that end up at even smaller bridges, all facilitated with ropes for a secure climb up the mountain. I can’t imagine doing something like that with my fright of heights.
After a trip of 15-20 minutes we reached the top of the train rail. A small village was situated here. You could find a small shop with local handmade goods, a museum and a place where you could rent these parapentes. Next to that they had build a field for these paragliders to jump off from. Some of them came by themselves, others were accompanied by a teacher. And around that field there were families having picknicks and enjoying the jumps. I had never seen something like this. It was really interesting.
So interesting that I think I have something to add on my bucket list. I especially enjoyed the look of the last few steps these guys made before they jumped. It was so funny. It’s strange, you see, I told you before, I am really afraid of heights. But this looked like so much fun, that I might be able to forget this for an hour or so. I don’t know, I would have to find out more about it before I put it on the real bucket list, but it’s definitely on my radar. After seeing a few hand full of people jump off the mountain we decided to go down again. We had a look at the museum and the machine that pulls the trains up and down and then we took the train down.
This place is only 25 minutes away from Grenoble and I think it’s a perfect getaway for families. You can hike on top of the mountain, but also do a picknick or a little stroll. They even have a little restaurant on top, that sometimes is open. You can find all the information about the funiculaire on the website I linked on top.